The Philosophical Life

Sarah Bakewell writes in her review of James Miller's book Examined Lives:

"Apropos of Descartes, Husserl wrote, “Anyone who seriously intends to become a philosopher must ‘once in his life’ withdraw into himself and attempt, within himself, to overthrow and build anew all the sciences that, up to then, he has been accepting.”

It is an extraordinary thing to do: a project that remains “quite personal,” as Husserl admitted, yet that reaches in to seize the whole world and redesign it from the very foundation. Perhaps this is what still distinguishes the philosophical life: that “once in a lifetime” convulsion, in which one reinvents reality around oneself. It is a project doomed to fail, and compromises will always be made. But what, in life, could be more interesting?"

Comments

Komal said…
Great post! I, like you and presumably many others, have gone through that process. It's also a way of overcoming existential cowardice, if you think about it.